Saturday, November 07, 2009

having an impact

I've become increasingly aware of people who are doing what they want to do with their lives and having a positive impact on others' in the process.

I wrote recently about Dallas Clayton, who wrote a beautiful book for his son to inspire a little boy to think big and, when he couldn't find a publisher, published it himself and is now giving copies away.

I watched Jonathan Demme's Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains this morning, about a former president who is willing to ruffle feathers and speak his mind because he lives according to a code of justice and has no other option.

I have, for years, admired my friend David Wilson, for developing the truly inspiring True False Film Fest in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri, capturing the attention of filmmakers from around the world for his love letter to documentary films, his beloved hometown and his family.

I have obviously written about my childhood mentor, John Hughes, who rejected a world that nevertheless embraced him and encouraged me and instilled in me a desire to follow my own passions.

Then there's my friend, Christie Herring, a documentary filmmaker who is working hard to complete her film, The Campaign, about the campaign to defeat California's Prop 8, which, one year ago, overturned the right to marriage for same sex couples.



There was a great post about Christie and The Campaign this morning in The Huffington Post, with Georgianne Nienaber relating today's fight for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with her own experiences in the gay rights movement of the mid-1970's. It was a lovely reminder to me that, once again — people can do what they want with their lives and have a positive impact on others' lives in the process.

It sounds so stupidly obvious, doesn't it? But how many of us are really doing it?

I don't think I can say I am.

9 comments:

Veronica Sopher said...

I can't say I am, at least not in my day job. I've struggled with this in recent years. My father, a retired teacher and writer, made a difference in so many teenagers' lives and their families'. Maybe I should call him and talk about this. Thanks for the reminder, abf.

christie said...

Alison, you know you've always inspired me. And I think you've summed up one of the important themes of the film: what do I care about, and how am I going to do something about it? May we all keep striving!

bunny said...

I agree with, Veronica--I struggle with my desire to "do good" and make a living. When I lost my job this year, I thought maybe someone was trying to give me a push in the right direction, but either I am too blind or scared to see the next steps I need to take. I hope the way will become clearer soon.

I have been an avid volunteer for many years, however, and currently serve my local free medical clinic with public relations and fundraising support. But I feel I could do so much more.

Thanks of making me aware of the Carter film. I live in Ga. and have met President Carter...he is a man among men. I have never thought he receives the respect he truly deserves...in his 80s, he continues to work tirelessly for peace and to help those less fortunate.

Jacob said...

"I don't think I can say I am."

That's a lie, Allison. You know how many people have read your John Hughes post; but you should also know that most of them probably read the rest of your blog, too, and were deeply motivated - not by just that one simple, heartwarming piece of literature you did.

Allison, you have no idea how inspirational your posts are, and how much you have affected some of us. How much you have affected me. You have no idea how much you have probably changed so many people's views on life and how contagious your posts are. I have found myself being a nicer person, and it seems to rub off on to other people. You are special, and something so simple as writing a post to remind some of us, and to even introduce others, how great it is to motivate ourselves and others are - to inspire us to not only be bigger than we really are, but to let other people know that they are special, too, is possibly the most heartwarming things of all.

Allison - you simply have no idea how loved you are by so many people. You have no idea how many people who's lives you have changed. You have changed mine; that's for sure, and for that, I want to thank you.

Art said...

Do you do something boring and futureless like work in a call center? I do!

People have always told me they like my writing, or they call into the call center and say, "You sound like you should be on the radio!" Thanks, but I've tried both, and making a sustainable living in either one seems pretty much impossible. So for six years now it's been sitting in a cubicle answering cell phone questions, no idea what to do next.

Point being: I don't think your day job is nearly as drab and nowhere as mine, so smile.

Michele said...

Hi Alison.........I've just stumbled across your blog and am enthralled......I found you by accident and have started reading all the way back to where you started it.....I'm at Feb 2004and reading.....when i'm bored skullless at the office i read another few and then either laugh like a drain or send them off to my email adresses so they can laugh and enjoy you too........thanx - You're a tonic!!!!

Iggy said...

I constantly say that if there's ever a nuclear holocaust and we need to go back to manning the fields, people in my profession will be the second to go. First will be the pyro guys, then the lighting techs. I mean...we do lights for concerts. Its really specific and a strange lifestyle, but we do nothing for mankind!

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Amanda said...

Alison, I just wanted to point out the probably obvious and say you seem to be very inspired by documentary film. That seems like a big honking clue as to what "impact" means to you, and what inspires you. Why don't you make a documentary? - perhaps for the web, a medium you know so well? Just a thought.